With this Saturday’s fixture at the Stadium of Light, Arsenal look set to finally get their season under-way after only collecting two wins from their first eight. The injury-ridden club look thin, with the likes of Mesut Özil, Matthieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny out for lengthy spells, whilst Jack Wilshere is serving suspension. Whilst we may see the return of the 4-2-3-1 system we were so dominant with last campaign, there is one player in this Arsenal side who looks to be the ‘one to watch’ this weekend.
It’s fair to say Sunderland didn’t have the best of games last weekend. Suffering an 8-0 battering away at Southampton pin-pointed their defensive fragilities, especially with Vergini netting a spectacular own goal. Low on confidence, and open at the back it seems to be a perfect opportunity for Danny Welbeck to take centre stage this weekend and declare himself amongst the goals. With Olivier Giroud unavailable due to injury, now is the perfect time for Welbeck to stake his claim as a first team starter.
Welbeck’s arrival to Arsenal late on deadline day from Manchester United was a controversial one. Many suggested the £16million price tag was too much, whilst ex-players hailed the typical ‘Wenger signing’ as ‘intelligent’. Now, late into October, the English forward has five goals in his last seven appearances for the Gunners in all competitions and seems to be excelling in the starting role as centre forward.
Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck have combined to form a formidable partnership in the Arsenal attack. Often criticised for a lack of pace and power, these two have combined well to create a tantalising goal record for each individual as they hope to tear Sunderland apart. With both players set to start, Danny Welbeck may feel that he has a point to prove after a fairly average performance mid-week in the dulcet performance in Brussels. Welbeck failed to link up play and his first touch seemed heavy, but after being Arsenal’s saviour vs. Hull last weekend, I tip the striker to be snatching the headlines again.
His pace and ability to get in behind the Sunderland defence may prove to be the most useful factor in his style of play, but without Mesut Özil to supply an assisting service, his individualism and team-play will be highlighted. His encouraging performance at Villa Park is certainly something to lead on, and his finishing has improved drastically since his Emirates arrival, also showing on an international basis. Showcased in the home tie versus Galatasaray in the Champions League, we really saw the best of ‘Dat Guy’ as he produced three quality finishes of the highest standard to leave the Emirates with the match ball. Sunderland left lots of space in behind last week, and showed no effort to retrieve the ball from Southampton when the latter were in possession. Playing into Arsenal’s strength’s of tika-taka keep-ball, we will surely wait for that killer ball for the 23 year old to latch onto. His presence is welcomed by our set-pieces, despite our poor record this season, so a goal may come from any aspect of play this weekend against a frail Sunderland.
Danny Welbeck has undeniably proved his critics wrong, and seems to be full of confidence with this upcoming fixture. As Arsenal look to exploit Sunderland’s weakness in defence, I’m sure that Danny Welbeck will be the focal point to any attack, hoping to bag a goal or two against his former club. Santiago Vergini and John O’Shea will need to be on top of their game to stop Welbeck from scoring tomorrow, as Arsenal look to repeat last season’s 3-1 victory on Tyneside.